How to Create a Workbox System for Homeschooling

The workbox system is a homeschooling program that has gotten very popular over the last few years. Sue Patrick is the creator of the original workbox system and the author of a book by the same name. She also offers workshops on the workbox system and other ways to get creative in your home school. You can download her book here. 

If you do an Internet search on “workbox system homeschool” a ton of information will be readily available.  It is a pretty popular system to promote more independence. Most people that use the system tweak it to their child’s needs, even though Sue recommends not doing that. Every kid is different, and sometimes you have to make adjustments accordingly. This is the beauty of homeschool. No one knows your child like you do.

The typical workbox system has twelve boxes that the child does every day. In our homeschool we have lessons in between boxes.  Each box has a big number on it. The child also has a schedule strip that has numbers on it. They take the number from the schedule strip and match it to the number on the box, open the box, remove the contents and do the work. They have to do the boxes in order, and when they finish one they put “done” work in a desk tray for mom to check at the end of the day. They cannot move on unless they have finished that box in entirety. Mom should have a sheet to post each day that has directions for each box.  This helps the child not only with independence but also in following directions.

There are also “activity” buttons that go between boxes. For example- She might do 3 boxes and then there is a “snack” button, do another 2 boxes and then there might be “Math” button (which is class with Mom). 

Fill the boxes with things that are relevant to the child’s studies- worksheets, puzzles, manipulatives, games, videos, books, etc.  You can always slip in “Help Mom fold towels” or “Make cookies with Mom.” In other words, fill them with different stuff each day.  It keeps them excited about what might be in the boxes and takes away the monotony that schoolwork can have.

There are also “Mom” buttons that you can put on the boxes ahead of time if the activity inside the box requires Mom’s help. (i.e. craft, paint, etc.) There are also “Help” buttons. Limit these to only a few of these a day, so they have to decide when they really need Mom’s help.  This is helpful in developing problem solving skills and can stop the million questions about how to do something.  As a homeschool mom you are never very far away, so there are impromptu times that you can look over their shoulder to make sure they are following directions.

There are many varieties of the system. As with most homeschools, the most successful are developed around the child’s needs. The workbox system is a useful tool for all types of students.